Municipality of Gotse Delchev
Municipality of Gotse Delchev is situated in Southwestern Bulgaria, along the Mesta River and it's one of the municipalities of Blagoevgrad. Gotse Delchev encompasses picturesque valley of the Mesta River, parts of South Pirin and Western Rhodopes. It borders on the municipalities Hadzhidimovo, Garmen, Bansko and Sandanski. Includes the town of Gotse Delchev and 10 villages: Musomishte, Delchevo, Bukovo, Borovo, Kornitca, Lujnitsa, Breznitsa, Gospodintsi, Banichan and Dobrotino.
The municipal center is located to 105 km from the regional center Plovdiv and 203 km from the capital Sofia. The nearest sea port is the city of Kavala (Greece) and distance between them is 95 km.
The relationship between Municipality of Gotse Delchev and neighboring Greek communities is through Border checkpoint Ilinden - Eksohi.
Due to their favourable climate, the Gotse Delchev Hollow and the low-mountain hilly areas were already populated in very ancient times. There are numerous remains of the material culture of prehistoric man from the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic ages, of the Thracians form the 1st millennium BC, of the Roman rule and late Antiquity, of the Slavs... The region was annexed to the Bulgarian kingdom in 837 AD. During the Ottoman rule, especially in c. 16 and 17, part of the local Bulgarian Christian population was forcibly converted to Islam as a result of the conquerors' assimilation policy, but preserved its national consciousness and traditions.
The economic upsurge in the National Revival period manifested itself in the development of stockbreeding, agriculture, bee keeping and silkworm breeding and the flourishing of crafts and commerce. The town of Nevrokop (the present Gotse Delchev) became famous as the only producer of the valued Nevrokop chans (bells). Skilful masons were building residential and public buildings of remarkable architectural value, and so the town and the neighbouring villages were renovated, developed and enlarged. The export of commodities was directed to the south - to Seres, Drama, Kavala and Thessalonica in present Greece, and to the west - to Serbia and Austro-Hungary. The big Nevrokop Fair, which took place every year, was of great importance to the economic life of the region.
During the National Revival period, the Bulgarian population waged long and dramatic struggles for new Bulgarian education and an autonomous church from the Greek Patriarchate and took active part in the struggles for liberation from the Ottoman rule.
Sights of the Region
The Gotse Delchev Municipality offers a great variety of sites for the loves of nature. The Chinarbey (a 500-year-old, 24 m high plane tree) grows on the bank of the Delchevska River. The Twins - age-old chestnut trees grow 1.5km west of the town of Gotse Delchev. The fishpond by the Mesta River offers attractive pastimes and consumption of its produce in a specialized fish restaurant.
The picturesque, 25 m high Momina Klisura Defile of the Mesta River connects the Razlog Hollow with the Gotse Delchev Hollow and separates the Pirin Mountains form the Rhodopes. A very beautiful part of Pirin National Park with three cirques - the Kornitsa Cirque, the Breznitsa Cirque and the Kamenitsa Cirque - occupy 1487.2 hectares of the municipality's area. The Orelyak Nature Reserve (758.1 ha - 751.5 ha of forest areas and 6.6 ha of pasture areas) is famous for its old beech forests. The resort locality Popovi Livadi (1430 m above sea level) is a convenient starting point for the Orelyak and the ridge of the elevation Debeli Rid, which surrounds the three cirques. The International Mountain Route E-4 (The Pyrenees - Peloponnesus) also passes through here.
Trips can be made from the town of Gotse Delchev to the popular national and international tourist centre Bansko (32 km). Picturesque mountain roads passing through the resort locality Popovi Livadi to the original village of Pirin (44 km), the Pirin Chalet (61 km, the famous Rozhen Monastery (79 km) and the cultural and historical reserve Melnik (80 km).
The village of Delchevo
is an architectural reserve. It is situated above the town of Gotse Delchev, 8 km into the Pirin Mountains. There are excellent conditions for rural tourism.
The village of Kovatchevitsa (Garmen Municipality)
is an architectural and historical phenomenon. It is evaluated as a unique architectural heritage with the architectural building school in the southwestern Rhodopes. It is located in the Rhodopes, to 25 km from the town of Gotse Delchev. The houses are unique works of vernacular architecture with protruding upper storeys. The streets are paved with cobble that is passed drains. Most of the houses have been restored keeping the old traditions.
The village of Leshten (Garmen Municipality)
is an architectural reserve. Most of the houses have been restored and adapted to "rural tourism". It is visited by many tourists from country and abroad. It is situated 17 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev on the way the village Kovachevishta.
The village of Dolen (Satovcha Municipality)
is an architectural reserve. The narrow cobblestone streets and its typical old houses are extremely interesting. The houses were built with the typical protrusion of the second and the third storey and their interior architecture is in the National Revival Style. Some of the ceilings are decorated with fretwork. There is also a church, built in 1837, which is interesting with its original fretwork by self-taught woodcarvers. It is in the Rhodopes, 25 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev in the direction of the village of Satovcha.
Churches and monasteries
There are 35 churches in the region,4 of which are in the town of Gotse Delchev. With their unique architecture, rich interior decoration (murals, iconostases, fretwork) and rituals, the churches are interesting tourist sites.
St. Archangel Michael's Church (1811) is remarkable for its old holy gates, included in the iconostasis composition, its richly decorated fretwork ceilings, and 70 icons from 1881 by Sergi Georgiev.
The Assumption's Church (1838) has an extremely interesting painted iconostasis, masterpieces of fretwork, and icons by eminent representatives of the Bansko painting school.
There are 3 monasteries in the region. They are extremely interesting object with a great potential for tourist sites due to their long and eventful history, unique architecture and interior decoration.
The Holy Virgin's Monastery, built in 1888, and the remains of the Momina Kula medieval fortress are situated at a 3-km distance from the town.
The architectural complex of Rifat Bey (a local Ottoman ruler) in the Bulgarian National Revival style, the ensembles of post-National-Liberation houses in the old central part along the Hristo Botev, Targovska and Ivan Vazov streets, and the artisans' workshops along the Zvancharska Street also contribute to the town's atmosphere.